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Maroondah Carers’ Support Group celebrates 20 years!

Published on 26 June 2018
  • Community
  • Health and wellbeing
Kerrabee-Centre-Carers-Group-20-years.jpg Members were treated to fun afternoon of music and entertainment

This year marks a huge and important milestone for the Maroondah Carers’ Support Group.

Since 1998, members of Maroondah Carers’ Support Group have found friendship and comfort among like-minded carers as part of the group’s monthly catch-ups.

To mark the group’s 20th anniversary, 30 current and past members came together for a high tea celebration at Maroondah’s Kerrabee Social Inclusion and Wellness Centre in Croydon last Friday.

Members were treated to fun afternoon of musical song and entertainment, and spent time reminiscing about the group’s journey over the past two decades.

The Maroondah Carers’ Support Group is a council initiative run in partnership with EACH that supports individuals of all ages who are in a caring role.

The group, which meets for two hours on the first Friday of each month, provides a means in which carers can share their experiences, form friendships and take a break from their caring role in a relaxed, supportive and non-judgemental environment.

Helen Hillard, who for the past 65 years has cared for her daughter Libby who is blind, has been going along to the group’s monthly sessions for 16 years.

Mrs Hillard says she’s established lifelong friendships, and finds pleasure in making new members feel welcome.

“It’s a support network. It’s interesting listening to the other folk and the staff are just delightful,” she says.

While she enjoys the respite the two hours a week gives her, caring for her daughter has been a privilege.

“She never complains; she’s quite remarkable,” she says of her daughter Libby, who is also affected by chronic schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“It’s a mother’s love and I’m happy to do so.”

So friendly is the group, she said members who are no longer caring for someone buwt who continue to attend the Friday group, do so willingly in a mentoring capacity.

Role of a carer

Carers are family members or friends who provide support to children or adults who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who are frail or aged.

Mayor of Maroondah, Cr Nora Lamont, said the Maroondah Carers’ Support Group not only provided members with an essential service but a sense of belonging, particularly for those who may be experiencing social isolation.

Cr Lamont said that while carers provided a valuable contribution to society, this sometimes came at a cost to their own health and wellbeing.

“Often carers feel an overwhelming sense of isolation and push their own needs aside.

“Groups like the Maroondah Carers’ Support Group provide a wonderful opportunity for carers to have some time to themselves, which isn’t always easy when you are a full-time carer to a loved one, family member or friend.

“Council congratulates the group on its 20-year milestone achievement, which is a true testament to our caring and qualified staff members, volunteers and willing participants,” Cr Lamont said.

Benefits of attending a carers’ program

For carers, belonging to a carer support group can offer the opportunity to:

  • learn practical aspects of care
  • gain support through sharing experiences and feelings with others in a similar role
  • discover ways of alleviating stress and relaxing
  • learn about community services and how to use them
  • understand more about the condition and needs of the person being cared for
  • have social contact away from the continual demands of caring.

Where and when

The Maroondah Carers’ Support Group meets on the first Friday of every month, from 12pm to 2pm, at the Kerrabee Centre, 3-5 Louisa Street, Croydon.

For more information about this and other programs offered at Kerrabee, contact Maroondah Council on 1300 88 22 33 or pick up a free brochure at one of our services centres.

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